Orb Audio People's Choice - 5.1 Speaker System - Orb Audio People's Choice

By Danny Philips



  • Recommended by TR
Orb Audio People's Choice - 5.1 Speaker System


Our Score:


Performance from this innovative speaker set is nothing short of sensational. It never ceases to amaze us when manufacturers get such a big sound out of small speaker cabinets, but Orb is the latest to achieve such a feat. The sound these speakers produce is obscenely powerful and bursting with energy, and it makes mincemeat of Hellboy II’s DTS HD Master Audio track on Blu-ray.

Hellboy’s battle with the Elemental in chapter 12 is breathtaking – the Mod2s at the front deliver fierce, forthright effects with no harshness or distortion, even when we cranked the Onkyo amp up to Environmental Health-baiting levels, and Johan Krauss’s futile cries are clearly audible as the 50ft tree tears up the city. From tinkling glass to crunched-up cars clattering past the camera, there’s real purpose behind every sound these speakers produce.

On their own, the Mod1s also do a great job as rear channels, conveying subtle detail crisply and creating a surprisingly wide soundstage with their expansive reach. Nowhere is this more evident than during the Troll Market scene – the delicate tapestry of sounds, including winged creatures flitting around, is sparklingly clear and puts you right there among the crowds.

The subwoofer is a force to be reckoned with, offering the sort of wall-shaking bass tones that you expect from a bigger unit. It has power in spades, but it’s also accurate, tight and responsive – the perfect combination.

The Orbs are at home with music too. We fed them Corinne Bailey Rae’s version of Since I’ve Been Loving You and it’s an absolute delight, her voice sounds pure and natural and the double bass is warm and solid. Sublime.


We know it seems like a bit of a punt shipping speakers over from the States – particularly with the hefty fee involved – but if you do you won’t regret it. The unusual design and elegant build quality is unlike anything else we’ve seen at this price, and the fantastic performance is as good if not better than the KEF KHT2005.3 system that bowled us over earlier this year. On the downside, we don’t like the small, fiddly binding post holes, which may cause a problem if you have thick cables, but otherwise this system absolutely deserves to be the People’s Choice.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
  • Features 8
  • Design 9


December 26, 2009, 9:41 pm

give your home theatre system some balls!

sorry, somebody had to say it...


December 26, 2009, 10:31 pm

If you say they are good I believe you. But I have always been sceptical of small cones being able to deliver the full frequency range without being/sounding forced. Mind you they are a hellish delivered price anyway. My bet would be a set of Teufels - at least if there was a problem I don't have to phone the States!


December 26, 2009, 10:58 pm

Where do the wires run in relation to the stands? Do they go inside the legs, or are they supposed to be binded to them somehow?

Also, I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Please can you run some kind of article by of introduction to home cinema surround sound? What does the ability to "control crossover frequency" mean, for example? You've done a superb job with the digital photography tutorials. Please extend the philosophy! I'm sure I can't be the only one who would appreciate this!

Low B

January 1, 2010, 9:52 pm

Great review Danny, I'm sorely tempted to take a chance on a set of these. I new to all this; what receiver did you test these with? And would you recommend it as an optimal choice? I agree with Bluepork - a beginners guide to surround sound would be well very well received; by 2 of us at least!

ed 7

January 29, 2010, 9:03 am

im planning to get this system once i received my tax refund, and i saw a insignia receiver 5.1 500 watts NS-R5101HD from best buy for only $179.00. Is it a good combo? pls reply.

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